Dbacks Training Camp Returns To Rim Country

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Andy Towle/Roundup - atowle@payson.com

Coach John Carruthers (right) has the attention of all his charges as he imparts the best method of throwing a ball to a teammate after a circle throw and catch practice session. From left to right are: Dylan Justice, Christian Barrowdale, Jayson Lyons, Mitchell Matthews, Jodi Pock and Jeremiah Hamm.

Diamondback Training Center camps have been a summer staple in the Rim Country for the past 10 years.

They’ll return again next week, but this time with an added twist.

At the camp, which will be held July 6 to 10 at Rumsey Park, an advanced baseball session has been added to the regular camp.

The advanced session will be held 1 to 4 p.m. and the regular session 8 to 11 a.m.

The regular session is open to 6- to 10-year-olds and the advanced for 13- to 18-year-olds.

The advanced camp is designed for the player who is looking to move his game to the next level. There will be a special emphasis on the fundamentals necessary to play championship baseball.

The regular camp will teach the basics of the sport including hitting, base running, catching, pitching and defensive play in both the infield and outfield

Coaches usually throw in spirit contests and games to keep the camp sessions fun and interesting.

The fee for the regular camp is $150 and for the advanced session it is $185. The fees include 15 hours of instruction, T-shirt, hat and one ticket to a pre-selected Diamondbacks home game.

The inaugural training camp was held in 1999 on the Payson High School baseball diamond.

Among those who attended was Jake Yeck, now a 19-year-old freshman at Arizona State University.

“It was fun and I learned a lot of baseball,” he says.

On the teaching staff was former PHS baseball coach Teddy Pettet who was fresh from leading the Horns to the 1999 3A state championship.

Also tutoring the about 60 boys who enrolled was former Arizona State University star and major leaguer Rickey Nelson.

Jennifer Howland, coordinator of the Diamondbacks Baseball Outreach and Development Program said at midweek she was unsure of which coaches would be in Payson for the upcoming camp.

Little League postseason

Since the training center’s first appearance in the Rim Country, the baseball camps have returned each year drawing both returnees and new players. About the only setback the camps have suffered in past years is that they are held about the same time as Little League postseason area, district and state tournaments.

This means some of Payson’s finest baseball players — usually the Little League all-star selections — cannot participate.

Diamondback Training Center coaches sent to Payson in the past say they are aware of the problem, but because the camps are offered in about 40 towns and cities around Arizona in a short three-month period, the conflict would be tough to resolve.

Howland says the purpose of training centers are to instill an enhanced self-image, increased skills, improved knowledge of the game and greater community pride in the participants.

Diamondback officials estimate that since the inception of the program, almost 20,000 kids have “learned to play the Dbacks way.”

All profits benefit Diamond-backs Youth Charities.

“We are excited for camp and we will be in Payson,” Godfrey said.

For more information, call 1-800-821-7152 or go to: dbacks.

com/camp. In addition to the Diamondbacks hosting the training centers in Payson, the professional team on Feb. 5 brought its annual Hometown Tour, to Wilson Dome where hundreds of Rim Country Middle School students were thrilled by the visit.

On May 8 at Chase Field in Phoenix, Payson was honored as the guest community at the Diamondbacks vs. Washington Nationals game.

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